Good-Health Reads: Terry Gleason

row of books with apple and glasses isolated on blue

With so many health-transforming books being released, WholeFoods wanted to know what the experts are reading. Here, Terry Gleason, certified Health and Wellness Coach, shares her thoughts on three books that sparked her interest in nutrition.

Throughout my life, I’ve always had an interest in some form of health and wellness. It started with sports and fitness, then opened up to mental health. On April 15, 2018, I attended a wellness workshop and I truly found my wellness passion—nutrition! I had never thought too much about nutrition. I mean, I ate whatever I wanted and was “healthy.” As for those who unfortunately suffered from chronic disease well, it was just genetic, right? This brings me to the first book that pushed me to become an advocate of hope. Hope, for we have way more control over our health than I once thought.

 

How Not to Die by Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM

I’ve taken many general health classes—whether it be in college or for further certifications such as personal training or health coaching—and I must have fallen asleep during the chapter on preventing and/or reversing the 15 leading causes of death such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, kidney disease, and suicidal depression with something so simple as what we eat on a daily basis.

At first, I resisted this information a bit. My father died of cancer and I know so many people with chronic diseases. If nutrition was so powerful, of course their doctor would say something. I’ve since learned it’s more complicated than that. Our healthcare system is full of wonderful and dedicated doctors, but unfortunately they receive little to no education about the power of nutrition. The healthcare system is also flawed and doesn’t currently allow for this type of lifestyle education. However, with the help of this book, Lifestyle Medicine is gaining steam and I’m very hopeful for the future.

I nicknamed author Dr. Michael Greger “Dr. Unicorn” because I can’t believe this guy exists! He and his team at NutritionFacts.org read through thousands of nutritional research papers with a fine-tooth comb and truly give hope to so many suffering from chronic disease. With a bit of an unusual title, How Not to Die explains that we are not defined by our genetics and have more power than we think over our long-term health. Dr. Greger also has the How Not to Die Cookbook, which I used religiously when I first started my wellness journey.

 

Fiber Fueled by Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., MSCI

To be honest, I’m not the biggest reader. I’m not the type to just pick up a book and read for fun. I usually feel too busy, but being pregnant in a pandemic in which a lot of my jobs were postponed, I found myself with some extra down time to pick up an interesting read. Over the summer of 2020, I started reading Fiber Fueled—and wow! Never have I thought so much about the amazing health benefits of fiber! Yes, you read that right: FIBER. That thing we associate with constipation, prunes, and metamucil.

Living in this protein-obsessed world, it was refreshing to read a book with so much science about the importance of gut health, and to learn that the amount of fiber from whole plant foods in our diet has a direct relationship to our overall health. My husband and I decided to do the “Fiber Fueled 4 week” plan at the end of the book as a fun way to challenge ourselves to eat even healthier than we already do. Besides keeping active, I 100% owe this healthy eating guide to having an amazingly healthy pregnancy. Dr. Bulsiewicz nailed it—he made fiber sexy. He cut through the misinformation and what’s marketed to us for gut health and presents the evidence with humor and levity. And It just so happens we named our baby William.

 

The Vegucated Family Table by Marisa Miller Wolfson and Laura Delhauer

As a Health and Wellness coach, I see that changing nutrition and lifestyle habits can be really hard for a lot of people (including myself!) who have to work at undoing 10, 20, 30+ years of unhealthy habits. It’s certainly never impossible, but a bit more difficult for sure. It’s much easier to start healthy habits from the cradle (or in the womb!) than it is to break them as toddlers or adults. I believe the greatest gift we can give our children is to set them up for healthy success from a young age as we know that poor childhood diets can manifest into adult chronic diseases.

This book is now my go-to gift for any of my pregnant friends. It’s full of evidence-based information, weekly meal plans for babies and toddlers, and tons of delicious recipes whether your family is vegan, mostly plant-based, or you just need help sneaking in more vegetables in your kids’ meals. Marisa and Laura help us parents navigate holidays, pack school lunches, and ultimately set the stage for healthy eating for the pickiest of kids. The book also included advice from renowned pediatric plant-based expert Dr. Reed Mangels. I can imagine many parents may have concerns about their children meeting nutrition requirements. Dr. Mangels lays out all the answers based on nutritional science to the most common questions. This book is a staple for any family that wants to set their children up for healthy success!